Apr 1, 2015, 5:19 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 1, 29 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.
Question of the day
A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.
Today’s question is from Twitter:
With running back Roy Helu gone in free agency, the Redskins have a large hole to fill. Last year Alfred Morris played 616 snaps and Helu played 382. Silas Redd (55 snaps) and Chris Thompson (31) both played sparingly and mostly in either garbage time or late in the season when the Redskins were playing out the string.
There was some contact between Justin Forsett and the Redskins during the free agency period last month but nothing serious developed. We don’t know if the Redskins were looking at him as a potential Helu replacement or as someone who would be in a job-sharing situation with Morris. We’ll never know because the Ravens brought back their 2014 leading rusher a few days into free agency with a three-year, $9 million contract.
For the third-down role I think it’s pretty obvious that you want a player who can catch the ball, which Forsett can do (44 receptions in 2014, 6.4 yards/rec.). But Jay Gruden might want a player who is more explosive than Forsett.
Let me put forward a possibility. Helu really filled two roles. His major role was third-down back. His lesser role was to take over for Morris on the rare occasions when the starter was either banged up or in need of a rest. I think that two different backs could fill that one role.
Speaking to the media in Phoenix last week, Gruden indicated that Chris Thompson might get the first shot at Helu’s third-down duties. The coach likes the third-year player’s speed and he hopes that Thompson can “give us a little jolt back there”.
But when Morris is in need of a series or two off per game it could be Silas Redd, who made the team as an undrafted rookie last year, getting some carries. Redd was a rare rookie in that he impressed both the coaching staff and the players with his knowledge and preparation. That could get rewarded with several dozen carries this year, many of them with the game on the line.
I could also see Gruden experimenting with his backs. Maybe he could give Thompson some snaps on first and second downs and throw Redd an occasional swing pass on third down to see what they can do.
There is always the possibility that the Redskins will pick up someone in the draft, which would reset the whole picture here. But as it stands right now I think you can look for Thompson on most third downs and some more meaningful carries for Redd.
—It’s been 94 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 165 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 19; 2015 NFL Draft 29; Redskins training camp starts 120
If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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